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Old 04-17-2013, 08:50 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vswingfield View Post
I guess you don't know Jack.

Sorry, just couldn't resist.

Here's a link to a thread where the Jack antenna was discussed: http://www.airforums.com/forums/f450...nna-73890.html

Also here's a link to a source for them: Jack RV Digital Antenna - Complete Antenna - PPL Motor Homes
No offense taken, I almost used it myself. Thanks for the links.

Received a call back tonight from a Tech at Winegard. He told me that there is a couple of replacement heads (Sensar 3 and Sensar 4) for my unit (fits anything after 1990). I'll check out the Jack units and make a decision. I'm doing this as much for protection against more tired out jokes as anything else.

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Old 04-17-2013, 09:43 PM   #16
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Okay so now I know Jack. I watched the demonstration video and what I didn't like right off is that they were talking about using 110V power to the amplifier head. I found the manufactures website and found that it actually uses a transformer to reduce the voltage to 12 V. If you have a pre-existing 12V set up there is no need for the 110V to 12V transformer. They could have made that clearer in the video. I bought an RV so that I did not have to be tethered to an electric meter.

The Jack replacement head is about $20 dollars cheaper than the Winegard Sensar IV. What to do.
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Old 04-17-2013, 10:38 PM   #17
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My 1983 Excella came with a separate amplifier located in the credenza like this one:



It also requires AC power, as you can see in the image. However, it's not an issue for me. My television is AC powered. So, no AC power, I'm not watching TV anyway.



The Excella has the old Braund Skyliner antenna, hence no amp up on the antenna. My Trade Wind also has the same type of antenna and amplifier. The Skyliners work great for HDTV by the way.

I do agree, though, that it's a little strange to convert 110AC to 12VCD to power something that's going to be installed in an RV.

Since my antennas work perfectly, I'm not in the market right now. If I were, though, I would lean to an entire Jack antenna system that rather than a head that goes on the crank-up antenna. I like the idea that remains in place without cranking up and down.
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Old 04-19-2013, 08:21 AM   #18
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Because I needed to get this done quickly, leaving on our trip on the 26th, I ordered the Jack from Amazon. I found a lot of very good reviews there and at least one other place that helped me make up my mind. It's suppose to arrive today. I ordered the head only for the same reason already mentioned, time available. Later, I may into a stationary mount.

I'll post some follow up reviews as I have something worthwhile to post.

Pete
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Old 04-19-2013, 01:10 PM   #19
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Just a passing thought... When I tried to use my TV on our first trip I got no signal and thought I had a problem. A fellow camper suggested I run the TV's auto program function and suddenly everything worked just fine. I don't know if this is your problem, but it sure would be easy to try.

Just my 2 cents,
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Old 04-22-2013, 01:06 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott J-24 View Post
Just a passing thought... When I tried to use my TV on our first trip I got no signal and thought I had a problem. A fellow camper suggested I run the TV's auto program function and suddenly everything worked just fine. I don't know if this is your problem, but it sure would be easy to try.

Just my 2 cents,

Well, Scott J-24,
You win the cigar. To bad I'd already ordered the new Jack Antenna. I also forgot to try your suggestion before took down my old Winegard Sensar and hooked up the new Jack. After hooking up I still was getting the no signal message and then I remembered reading your suggestion. I did the autoscan and it found about 10 stations. I changed the inside cable and ran the autoscan again and it found 15 stations. I was pretty happy that it was working, and thinking I should check it out with my new 12V TV.

Then things got ugly. This is where I learn that the inside skin is a vinyl cover aluminum. Here's the story, although those in the know probably are way ahead of me here. I had pulled the combination Antenna Coaxial connector / 12V Amplifier Switch / 12V Socket plate off the wall and had it dangling. I did this partly because I was trouble shooting and also because the threaded coaxial connector was just spinning and I couldn't unscrew the inside cable from the connector. I removed the cable, tightened up the connector barrel and installed the new cable. Without incident. I decided before I plugged in the new 12V TV I'd attach the outet plate back to the wall. I was trying to get this unwieldy thing back into the hole when ZAP, I shorted it out against the aluminum inside wall skin. S***!

I checked the fuse and it was definitely blown, so I put in a new one. Not being very quick on this occasion I did my best to cover all the exposed metal and the circuit board attached to the back of the plate with electrical tape and tried to put it back again. Zap Again!

Many more expletives, this time peppered with the word Mother and followed directly by another that rhymes with Trucker. Cussing doesn't reverse the situation, but it still makes me feel better. At this point the light is beginning to dawn, my dim witted brain is beginning to fully grasp this situation. I-am-not-making-this-better. Fortunately it finally occurred to me, I could turn the battery switch off, which I promptly all-be-it tardily did.

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I replaced the new, but now burned up fuse with a new, new fuse. Installed the plate without further incident and turned the battery switch back on. I plugged in the new 12V TV and it powered up. I ran the autoscan and it found only 11 channels. I tried again and that time it only found 10, I think. Also the reception was terrible. It was getting late about 8:30 PM. I decided to call it a night figuring I'd done enough damage for one day. My plan being that today I'd check the 120V TV that got 15 channels when I first connected it and see if it still did. It was dark by that time so I could finally check to see if the LED on bottom of the Jack antenna was lit. It wasn't. This was not a good sign.

This morning I connected the 120V TV and it only found about 8 or 9 channels with mostly poor reception. I climbed up topside and checked my voltage at the cable end. It was only about 8.9V. Friday, when I checked it, it was 13.1V. So, I'm guessing I fried a resistor or a diode or something else I can't even identify on the little circuit board attached to the back of the cover plate. What I don't know yet is whether or not I've damaged the Jack antenna, but while I was writing this confession I figured out how I can test it, so if it stops raining this afternoon, that will be my next move.

Meanwhile I have a call into Terry at Out OF Doors Mart in Colfax, NC. He's a very knowledgeable Airstreamer and I hope he'll know what I need or what I can do to find out.

Pete
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Old 04-22-2013, 08:54 PM   #21
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Your Jack probably had a 110v wall wart power supply packed in the box. To test things out, disconnect the coax coming from the antenna from the suspect wall switch/power supply. Connect it to the antenna port on the adapter that was packed with the wall wart. Then plug in the wall wart and go outside to check the red light on the bottom of the Jack. If lit, plug the free end of the adapter to the antenna terminal on the TV and take an inventory on the channels. Chances are you blew something on the wall switch/power supply and the antenna is possibly fine despite your ordeal.

Many RV parts stores stock the power supply. Beware, there is more than one model so check that you get the right one. A silver lining is possible. Winegard also sells a replacement switch/power supply with a built in tuning meter. It should run around $70.

With the old analog system it was a fairly straight forward matter to get the best picture: Tune the TV to a known channel for the current location then rotate the antenna until you find where it's as good as it can be. Digital systems have a element of Catch-22: In most cases, you have to point the antenna first then run the channel scan or it won't find the channel. Sometimes this can be a trial and error process requiring several attempts and scans before success. The tuning meter function should enable you to point the antenna the right way before running the scan.
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Old 04-22-2013, 09:10 PM   #22
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Silver Goose,

Thanks that is what i intend to do for the test, but the rain moved in and it was cold today so I'm hoping for a break tomorrow. I spoke to Terry and ordered a new switch/power supply. He agreed I'd probably messed it up. The makers of the the Jack also sell a signal finder which connects inline with the cable and would make it easier for me to see. I think I'll go that route should I want it. My coax/switch/power supply is hidden inside a bottom cabinet. So the signal finder would be hidden down there.

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Old 04-22-2013, 09:38 PM   #23
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Quote:
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Silver Goose,

... The makers of the the Jack also sell a signal finder which connects inline with the cable and would make it easier for me to see. I think I'll go that route should I want it. My coax/switch/power supply is hidden inside a bottom cabinet. So the signal finder would be hidden down there.

Pete
You're right, if you can't see the display while rotating the antenna, it isn't very helpful. The portable unit marketed by the same folks who sell the Jack can be connected inline behind the TV or simply connected to the end of the coax. It is powered by a 9v battery as I recall.

Radio Shack and other electronic retailers sell push-on connectors for coax. Putting one on the end of the cable that connects to the TV makes it a snap to connect it to the meter if you choose to use it that way. I also put one on each end of the cable I carry to connect to RV park cable connector if I stop somewhere that offers it. Sure beats trying to thread it on when its cold or wet.
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Old 04-22-2013, 09:57 PM   #24
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I just replaced my coax cable on my Winegard recently. I was not sure how to do it so while I was at a rally I asked the Airstream tech. He told me to remove the interior crank and fish out the connected ends (one end is the wiring that goes through the trailer and the other is the end that goes up to the antenna). In my particular application there was about 1 foot of wire to the roof and the rest what you see on the roof. Mine was working well, especially after I purchased the digital signal antenna add on and the Winegard digital readout amp with audible signal finder. Mine is also under the counter but the audible signal seeker takes care of that. I only replaced the cable as a maintenance item due to deterioration from the sun- it was cracking and nearly unbendable. I actually ended up fishing the new cable from the outside into the trailer.
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